Anyone who has ever attempted to convince a friend or relative that they need to get prepared will, no doubt, understand exactly where I'm coming from in this article. As some of you are already aware, this blog automatically posts to my Facebook page -- my personal Facebook page, where folks who have found me as a result of reading this blog intermingle with my family and friends I've had for many years. I suppose that unusual dynamic is what ultimately inspired me to write on this subject.
By and large, my peeps are an understanding bunch. No one has ever outright told me off or ended their friendship with me over my beliefs, possibly because I don't really push them all that much. Other than my blog posts appearing on my wall and linking to the occasional media story, my Facebook page is not altogether unlike any other. Still, that is not to say that I have not gotten some grief over posting so-called "depressing" stuff all the time, but I don't hold that against them any more than I'm sure they hold it against me.
It was something that a dear friend said recently, however, that got me to thinking and set me on the path to writing this article. In short, we were talking on the phone and the conversation turned toward a friend of hers who had found me through her Facebook page and added me as a mutual friend. I've actually never met the lady, but I typically approve friend requests unless the person gives me a bad vibe. Anyway, apparently the lady had said something to my friend about deleting me because of all of the "depressing" things I post. Oh well. To each his (or her) own. But it did get me to thinking about why I believe the things I believe and what put me on this path.
First, to dispel a common misconception: I *DO NOT* believe that the end of the world is just around the corner. With all the hoopla regarding the supposed apocalypse looming in 2012, all alternative news sites and blogs seem to be getting unfairly lump together with tinfoil hat-wearing whack-jobs these days. So, for the record, let me just say that 2012 is B.S.!!!
My blog isn't about preparing for the end of the world, but rather the end of the world as we know it (a concept often described using the moniker "TEOTWAWKI"). The fact is that societies have a shelf life. Read your history, if you don't believe me: every great civilization in history has risen, flourished, slipped into decline and eventually collapsed, leading to a "dark age" or a period of anarchy and chaos until the next great civilization rises and imposes order. It is in order to survive that so-called "dark age" that I prepare. It has been theorized that all it would take for the thin veneer of polite, civilized society to utterly unravel would be for the power grid to fail, which will surely occur if we are ever again hit by a geomagnetic solar storm such as the one that hit in 1859 -- and, that we one day will be is all but a statistical certainty. Also, one should keep in mind that that is only one of the possible scenarios that could cause everything we know of to unravel before our eyes. There are many others, some of them even more worrisome.
But even if, by some unbelievable and unlikely stroke of fortune, such dire occurrences never again befall us, there are still plenty of reasons why one benefits from leading a preparedness-minded lifestyle. I'll talk about that a little more later.
Without allowing this article to devolve into one completely devoted to that horrific event, I will tell you that the true catalyst that made me understand the importance of personal and family preparedness was Hurricane Katrina. I was absolutely riveted and appalled, and it definitely woke me up to the dangers of complacency and what comes of people leaving their very survival solely in the hands of a bureaucratic behemoth like the federal government. It wasn't as though no one wanted to help; the government was simply incapable of doing so in an efficient and timely manner and it cost lives. The lucky ones were left to fester for days among rotting bodies with precious little food and water, waiting for help that seemed never to arrive; while the more unfortunate fell victim to roving gangs intent on rape and violence. Never could a person ask for a better example of what happens in a large-scale crisis when it seems as though there is no end in sight: some people become butchers, others the meat -- and all suffer universally.
It was, likewise, a very good lesson in what to expect from the government in such a situation. It took them what seemed like an endless string of days to get their act together and get a few trucks of water to arguably the largest building in the entire city (not exactly a difficult target to aim for), yet little time seems to have been wasted in deploying armed personnel from private security firms to forcibly remove people from their own property, confiscate supplies and firearms from law-abiding private citizens (in direct violation of their constitutional rights) and generally cause a ruckus and make a bad situation even worse. There were even reports of people who didn't want to leave their homes, because they weren't being allowed to take their pets with them... so these thugs just shot their pets dead right there in front of them. It's a good thing that I wasn't there. Most likely, I would have misbehaved and someone would've had to have shot me dead too.
Watching all of that play out live on CNN and reading even more detailed stuff about it in the following months (much of it eyewitness accounts reporting things that were not allowed to be broadcast over mainstream media), I made a vow to myself that I would never end up like one of those unfortunate people, and that is a vow I intend to keep.
However, even were I not worried about such things, I would still maintain that a prepared lifestyle is a worthwhile endeavor.
In today's economy, with people losing their jobs left and right and unable to find work, who would not benefit from having a few months worth of food and other necessities socked-away in a pantry or attic?
It seems like every winter there are more and more reports of people being stranded in their cars by blizzards. They are typically either rescued after several harrowing days of not knowing if they'd survive, or they decide that they have no choice but to try to walk and find help themselves, losing their lives as a result. How much easier to you think their plights may have been to endure had they had the foresight to keep a $30-$40 emergency survival kit in their car at all times?
How many perish every year in earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters for want of such cheaply and easily-obtained supplies?
So you see, it isn't all about preaching of the end of the world and prognosticating doom. Emergency preparedness and survival training to help one endure future threats should be thought of in the same way one thinks of homeowners and car insurance. You don't pay that monthly premium in the expectation that your house is going to burn down or you are going to wreck your car; you pay it so that, in case one of those eventualities comes to pass, you won't be left twisting in the wind.
The lifestyle and mindset that I advocate is truly no different.
Some letters I received in response to this can be read here.